This Hampton Roads program is for women transitioning out of homelessness, human trafficking and poverty

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council got $500,000 for their new ship repair training program geared towards women (WYDaily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
The Hampton Roads Workforce Council got $500,000 for their new ship repair training program geared towards women (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

Interested in ship repair?

Women facing hardships are encouraged to apply.

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council recently received a $500,000 grant to create more job opportunities for women in the ship repair industry.

The goal of the council’s Women in Skilled Careers initiative is to offer at least 40 women paid training, internship opportunities and other supportive services.

“It is geared towards women who are transitioning out of homelessness, human trafficking and poverty,” said Christina Brooks, spokeswoman for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.

The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grant helps expand pathways for women to enter and lead in all industries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s news release.

In addition, grant recipients must provide one of the following: pre-apprenticeship or non-traditional skills training programs, ongoing training for employers, unions and workers or support groups to keep women employed.

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council will use the grant to create a training program for women which combines soft skills such as resume building, mock interviews and financial literacy as well as hard skills like reading blueprints, CPR/first aid training and welding.

The entire program lasts anywhere from 9 to 12 weeks.

Women who participate can earn a training stipend of up to $200 week and $10 an hour for 25 hours per week for a paid internship, Brooks said.

Brooks said about 50 percent of the grant will be used for the program but later clarified the projected direct program costs are $450,000 which include equipment training that may be needed and outreach.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • “over” $250,000+ – certificates and training
  • “over” $120,000+ – supportive services such as childcare, transportation and stipends
  • $50,000 – administrative costs, including hiring a program coordinator and other staff

“We’re still waiting for final guidance back from the Department of Labor,” Brooks said.

In addition, the council is working with several “core partners” to implement the program including WHRO, Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, the Virginia Ship Repair Association and United Way.

WHRO helped the council submit the grant paperwork and plans to help with outreach services, the colleges and the ship repair association will act as training providers and United Way will provide the soft skills training, Brooks added.

Vicki Friedman, campus communication officer at TCC, wrote in an email the college is in the process of hiring a coordinator. TNCC was not immediately available for comment but did confirm their participation in the program.

The ship repair program for women will run throughout the year and applications are ongoing. At this time, it’s unclear what the requirements are for women to apply.

“I think this program is going to be really wonderful,” Brooks said. “We’re really excited to get it going and to get our first class graduated.”

For more information about the program or to apply, call Brooks at 757-314-2370 or email her at

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.